Friday, February 27, 2009

Drawing comes first, says Raby Bay artist

Image: A Friend’s Pet, pastel, by Graham Josefski from rabybaygalleries.

TWO of Queensland’s most celebrated modern traditionalist painters received a mention in the Redlands this week as an artist talked about his grounding in the disciplines of art.
Mervyn Moriarty and Les McDonaugh were mentors of Graham Josefki, who has lived in Raby Bay since 1988.
Since Graham retired about two years ago he has had more time to pursue his lifelong interest in art. He was the primary-school pupil whose work always featured the teacher’s star. When recovering from an appendectomy, he sketched his mother, sitting beside his hospital bed.

DURING his "day jobs" (which artists inevitably need), the Bundberg-born son of a wool presser and a shearers’ cook always exercised his skills with draftsmanship, colour and tone on subjects, including "the bush and the Australian gum trees".
When he worked as a banker in Central Queensland, he studied painting by correspondence.
Paint of the oil and watercolour types ran through Graham Josefki’s veins as he moved from banking to real estate sales and eventually to home building.
Along the way, while working in finance and real estate, he took more painting courses and expressed his love of the Australian bush on paper and canvas.
Graham came under the guidance of McDonaugh, whose influence fostered his attraction to "the brilliant, vibrant colours of this very direct medium (pastels)".

McDONAUGH, an Australian Pastel Society founding member, was an important part of the Redlands’ art heritage, Graham says, adding that the acclaimed pastel prince lived his twilight years on Karragarra Island, and his death about three years ago was a sad loss to the international art community.
The other key mentor, Moriarty, who held the title as Queensland’s flying artist, imparted a message that rings true over not just decades but centuries.
"People, adults as well as children, often have great enthusiasm for applying the colours without realising that the skills of drawing go hand in hand with that," Graham says.
This is the motivation behind Graham’s advertisements in our Training & Tuition column. His children’s drawing lessons tap into the great heritage of draftsmanship that is the hallmark of the best art.

FOLLOW-UP: The Birkdale bromeliad brigade, under the leadership of its chief, Inge Drake, raised $880 last Saturday for Victorian fire relief, with dozens of pots of the intriguing plants heading out the gate at her Bayford Street home. Inge was pressing on with the appeal and we’ll have a further update in weeks to come.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Flowers bloom in ashes

Image: The World War II destruction in Berlin – from wikipedia.

THE stark scenes of devastation in the Victorian bushfires have brought tears to Inge Drake’s eyes as, safe and sound in her Birkdale home, she has watched the television reports.
"I feel so sorry for all those poor people who have lost so much," Inge says. "I can understand how they must feel."
Images of charred remains of thousands of houses have rekindled Inge’s memories of the bombing of Berlin during World War II.
In 1943, Inge Krull was seven years old. Her dad, Kurt, was a German army engineer and in the Russian campaign. She lived with her younger brother Dieter and their mum, Auguste, in the family home.
"One day we went to the movies and when we came back there was no house, just a great big hole – it was monstrous," Inge says. "I remember being sorry that I had lost my teddy bear."

THE trio found refuge in Berlin with Kurt’s father but Inge contracted scarlet fever. She was in hospital when her mum took Dieter to East Prussia, where they were to live with Auguste’s parents. Inge says she spent six terrifying weeks alone, with hospitals evacuated as bombing raids targeted them.
On her discharge, she waited for hours on a seat in a long vacant corridor, wondering in the silence if her mum would manage to come back to pick her up.
Finally, a small figure appeared in the distance. As it came closer Inge could see the "tiny person, not even five feet (152 centimetres) tall" was Auguste.
At least part of the wartime nightmare was over. But for the next two years, Auguste and the kids kept moving, "running away from the Russians".

KURT found his family in Bavaria in 1945. They migrated to Australia in 1953. Dieter now lives in Melbourne. Kirk and Auguste spent their final years in a Buderim retirement village. Kirk died in 1981 and Auguste in 1984.
A Birkdale resident for 30 years, Inge does not take her current comfort for granted.
"I have a home, food, furniture, a bed to sleep in … I thought what can I do for the poor people in Victoria," she said.
"When they have put everything into their farms, then lost it all, even if you gave them a million dollars they haven’t got the spirit to start again. I can so easily feel for them.’’

INGE talked with her friends, Michelle and Barbara. They decided to sell bromeliads to raise money for the relief effort.
The sale was washed out last Saturday but it will be on again tomorrow, all day, in Bayford Street.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Locavore movement gains momentum

Image: The south-east Queensland region, a focus for locavores. Map courtesy wikipedia.

A GREAT mix of Redland’s rural heritage and a forward-thinking environmental ethos has come together in the formation of a new group for people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
Redland Organic Growers Inc (ROGI) got rolling at a meeting in October at Redlands IndigiScapes Centre.
Founding president is Emma Baker, a Capalaba mother of two boys, Reuben, 6, and Eathan, 3, who love getting out in the growing patch with their mum.
Emma, a Redland Council landscape architect, is a woman of principle and goes out of her way to connect with her community through food.
She says she felt humbled among the ilk of more than 100 people at the foundation meeting.
"Some have been gardening for 60 years or more and have so much knowledge," Emma says. "You can only get this type of knowledge by getting out there and doing it."

ROGI has no affiliation with the formal process of organic certification for produce but Emma says several members may have the aim of taking their growing to such a commercial level.
In forming the group, she simply wanted to help people "connect back to their communities", talk with likeminded people and learn more about gardening techniques and issues.
ROGI meets on the first Tuesday every month at 6.30pm at Indigiscapes, where it has a seed bank and exchange, a bookshop and an outlet for organic products and edible plants.
The formation has been good news for another young Redlands mother. Nicole Bennett, of Victoria Point, became committed to organic food for the benefit of her family’s health but had difficulty obtaining certified produce locally.

IN 2006, Nicole set up a business, Wholesome Organics, to improve the availability of organic produce by making door-to-door deliveries and has expanded her range to include organic cleaning and skin and hair products.
Despite a lot of hunting, she has been unable to find a ‘certified organic’ grower in the Redlands, once one of the State’s major horicultural districts.
Most of Wholesome Organics’ produce comes from the South East Queensland growing areas, including the Lockyer Valley.
For Nicole, that organic certification is all important, so she must also source produce from outside the region.
She described ROGI as a breakthrough.
"The ideal would be to supply locally grown fruit and vegetables so the group must be a big step in the right direction," she said.

NICOLE and Emma’s local and/or regional focus would qualify them for membership of the "locavore" movement that is gaining momentum around the world.
They are "connecting" with the community through food, and that can mean benefits for society generally.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia – on the shores of beautiful Moreton Bay. Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Love me tender, fine statue you

Image from wikipedia.

AN important date slipped by without retired "jack of all trades" Norman Purse honouring the occasion.
It was the birthday of a close "mate".
The pair has shared a Cleveland unit for the past five years.
While Norman tunes into his favourite TV shows, mainly news, his mate sits on a stool and holds a guitar but doesn’t play it or talk during the news broadcasts.
Norman admits he slipped up by neglecting to celebrate the January 8 birthday of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, Elvis Presley.

AS the birthday came and went, Norman was planning to make some space by selling his lifesize fibreglass Elvis statue, which is rather imposing in a small unit.
Norman says he has always liked the King’s music. When the Elvis burst into the limelight in the 1950s, Norman could whistle Love Me Tender as he worked as a roofing plumber with the Revesby, Sydney, factory of HH Robertson Australia Pty Ltd.
The post-war era was kind to Norman, born in Mullumbimby. He had grown up on a banana plantation, enlisted in the army in 1941 and served in Darwin as a gunner with the 14th Anti-Aircraft Battery.

MORE than six decades on, he believes most Australians still do not realise the extent of the Japanese bombing and says his unit defended against about 60 raids.
"People also misconstrue what anti-aircraft artillery was designed to do," he says. "It wasn’t to shoot the planes down but to fire shells to put them off course so they didn’t have a straight line for their bomb sights."
After three years, Norman joined the Australian 1st Paratroop Battalion as a way to "get out of Darwin".
He says he trained at Richmond for one major mission, "to join with the 7th Division to retake Singapore" but the war ended before the call to action.

THESE are just some of the stories that Norm’s fibreglass mate, Elvis, could hear, if he could take the space between his ears off the echoes of Love Me Tender.
For the past few years, while Norm has tuned into the nightly News, Elvis’s eyes have been on a statuesque Egyptian beauty, another lifesize fibreglass statue.
Elvis can get off his stool and pass the working guitar to someone who can actually play it. Norman says a musician he engaged to tune the instrument believed it was well constructed and of good quality.
The portable Presley package was still available this week, with Norman slightly disappointed that no one except me responded to his ad.
He pondered whether the tight economic climate was the reason, or whether maybe the shine has faded from the King’s crown and Elvis’s popularity has waned.
Norman advertised his Elvis for $1800.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia – on the shores of beautiful Moreton Bay. Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Blogging the midnight oil

BEFORE it gets too late tonight, I want to talk about a subject of great importance to you and me – blogging. It’s the new age of publishing.
Here I am, writing; there you are, reading.
While bloggers may typically burn the midnight oil, I have written a lot of words for other purposes about this time of night over the decades.
Much of the outpouring was destined for the next day’s paper. During that era in my life, adrenaline and a supercharged sense of duty pushed me to “get that story” and, yes, even shout “Stop the press” with conviction that the public sorely needed the words I was about to commit to a production process.
Floods and other acts of nature, accidents of many types, night sport events and those across time zones, unexpected twists and turns in matters politic, actions and reactions … many sparks of many types ignite the fires in the bellies of news gatherers.

TONIGHT, it’s just you and me. You are wondering where all this will lead and asking why bother. I am wondering how I can translate my feelings about blogging into an understandable and meaningful form and asking for your patience.
This piece is not about the ‘shock’, ‘horror’ and headlines of the news world but that world is not far away. The blog requires all the skills I have used during a long career in the media. Accuracy and accountability are important, whether a writer is committing for publication one of the major news stories of the day to print in a major mass circulation newspaper, or talking to the world through just one of many thousands, maybe it’s millions, of blog posts that become available every second.

THIS is ‘me 2 u’ – direct, unplugged, a la natural. No roar of the press, no ‘can we really say this?’ calls from editors opting on the side of caution, no deadline …
Ooops, I lie – there’s always a deadline; there has to be. Otherwise, nothing gets finished.
So I here I am, writing late at night, blogging my guts out, so to speak, and writing like there’s no tomorrow (deadline), then contradicting myself and saying there really is a deadline.
That’s the hazier-than-twilight world of blogging, I guess.
Here I am, pretending I am writing without the baggage of “traditional publishing” but then having to admit some major controls are still in place and I have a deadline to get to bed (literally, metaphorically and physically).
What else can I say? Well, watch this space.